12 Mar, 2010 @ 12:31
2 mins read


A BRITISH couple have told of the shocking moment their roof suddenly collapsed, killing their close friends.

Douglas and Caroline Brown, 59, were entertaining guests the Martins at their Granada farmhouse when the ceiling caved in, burying Christopher, 64, and Christine Martin, 63, under a four-foot high pile of rubble.

“We were sat in the living room on separate sofas, talking about our children,” Caroline told the Olive Press.

“We were having a laugh and joke when suddenly we heard a thud come from the loft.

“It sounded like maybe a rat was scuttling around so Douglas went upstairs to check it out.”

“I called out their names but there was no answer.”

Just seconds after Douglas, 62, a plumber, left to check on the mystery noise, a second, much-louder thud, rang out through the house.

“We all looked up and could see cracks appearing in the ceiling,” explained Caroline, a former estate agent.

“I shouted out ‘oh my gosh the ceiling is coming down’, and I dived over the sofa and covered my face with my arms.

“There was an almighty crash and I could feel pieces of debris falling all around me.

“When it was over I opened my eyes and I could see straight up into the sky. The lounge roof had completely gone.

“I panicked and looked over to where the Martins were sitting and all I could see was a four-foot pile of rubble.

“I called out their names but there was no answer, there was nothing, no sound from them at all.”

A Spanish coroner has since confirmed that the Martins – who moved to Spain ten years ago – died immediately.

The owners have blamed the freak incident on the “sub-standard” materials used to build the home.

Caroline confirmed that forensic teams have also investigated the tragic deaths of the Martins, which happened as they enjoyed an afternoon’s chat.

“A police forensic team told us that the the roof joists were not installed correctly and the cement mix was too diluted,” she revealed.

The Browns bought their dream farmhouse seven years ago, near the picturesque village of Rubite, 20 minutes from the Costa Tropical.

They bought the idyllic home from a Scotsman believing it was in perfect condition.

“We didn’t get a structural survey of the home because it doesn’t seem to exist here,” she continued.

“We bought it in good faith and assumed everything would be fine.

“The builder was apparently a close friend of our local mayor and now we have no idea whether the property was even safe to begin with.

“Unfortunately, the builder has since passed away so he could never be held responsible.

“What is certain is that the constant heavy rain of the past eight weeks caused the already poorly-made foundation to weaken and collapse.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of mourners – both British and Spanish – gathered in the coastal village of La Mamola, to pay their last respects to the Martins last week.

A close friend of the couple said: “They were wonderful people, they weren’t your usual expatriates living in Spain.

“They embraced all aspects of Spanish life, Christine would always get dressed up for the ferias and carnivals. It is an absolute tragedy.”

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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